The New York City mayor announced plans Friday to send hundreds of asylum seekers to two hotels north of the city for up to four months as he tries to cope with a surge in arrivals, fueling antagonism among officials. in the mostly suburban area.
The administration of Democratic Mayor Eric Adams said that up to 300 single adult men under the care of the city will be transported as volunteers to a hotel in Orangeburg in Rockland County and another in Orange Lake in neighboring Orange County. Adams denounced Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for busing asylum seekers to New York City without prior coordination, and officials representing areas north of the city filed similar complaints against Adams on Friday.
The mayor has also repeatedly called for more state and federal aid to deal with the influx of asylum seekers, many of whom were bus to the city by governors of other states. He said the program would help the city manage the more than 37,500 asylum seekers currently in the city’s care.
The administration said the men using the hotels as temporary shelters will receive meals, counselling, legal support and other services.
“With a leadership vacuum, we are now forced to undertake our own decompression strategy,” Adams said in a prepared statement. “This new voluntary program will provide asylum seekers with temporary housing, access to services, and connections to local communities while they build a stable life in New York State.”
Some Republican officials in areas north of New York City reacted harshly, saying they had just been briefed on the plan and that the region lacks subways and the services needed to handle a surge of asylum seekers.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day called the mayor’s plan “reckless.”
“This is like taking someone who can’t swim, dropping them in the middle of the ocean and hoping they do well,” Day said in a telephone interview.
Day said the county attorney was seeking to obtain a restraining order.
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said he was surprised to hear the news Friday and still had questions about the impending arrivals.
“Who are these guys? Have they been properly vetted? What are they going to be doing? Are they going to be wandering around town?” Neuhaus said in a phone interview.
Immigrant advocates also criticized the move.
“Busing people upstate to seek refuge is only a temporary solution,” Murad Awawdeh of the New York Immigration Coalition said in a prepared statement. “They’ll be out of sight, but it’s short-sighted to think that the mayor can solve New York City’s housing problems this way.”
Some 60,000 asylum seekers have arrived in the city since last spring, according to the mayor’s office.
The administration has already tried various ways to accommodate asylum seekers, including a plan announced in January to temporarily convert a cruise terminal in a housing and services center.